Rafael Sebastián Guillén Vicente is a Mexican insurgent and former military leader and spokesman of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation in the ongoing Chiapas conflict. Widely known by his previous nom de guerre as Subcomandante Marcos, he has recently used several other pseudonyms; he referred to himself as Delegate Zero during the 2006 Mexican Presidential Campaign. In May 2014, he adopted the name of his dead comrade "Teacher Galeano", naming himself Subcomandante Galeano instead.
Born in Tampico, Tamaulipas, Marcos earned a degree in sociology and a master's degree in philosophy from the National Autonomous University of Mexico , and taught at the Autonomous Metropolitan University for several years during the early 1980s. During this time he became increasingly involved with a guerrilla group known as the National Liberation Forces , before leaving the university and moving to Chiapas in 1984.The Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional was founded in the Lacandon Jungle in 1983, initially functioning as a self-defense unit dedicated to protecting Chiapas' Mayan people from evictions and encroachment on their land. While not Mayan himself, Marcos emerged as the group's leader, and when the EZLN – often referred to as Zapatistas – began their rebellion on January 1, 1994, Marcos served as their spokesman.Known for his trademark ski mask and pipe, and for his charismatic personality, Marcos led the EZLN during the 1994 revolt and the subsequent peace negotiations, during a counter-offensive by the Mexican Army in 1995, and throughout the decades that followed. In 2001, he led a group of Zapatista leaders into Mexico City to meet with President Vicente Fox, attracting widespread public and media attention. In 2006, Marcos made another public tour of Mexico, which was known as The Other Campaign. In May 2014, Marcos stated that the persona of Subcomandante Marcos had been "a hologram" and no longer existed. Many media outlets interpreted the message as Marcos retiring as the Zapatistas' leader and spokesman.Marcos is also a prolific writer, and hundreds of essays and multiple books are attributed to him. Most of his writings focus on his anti-capitalist ideology and the advocacy for indigenous people's rights, but he has also written poetry and novels.